Bad Breath Bad Impression
Bad breath is caused by the accumulation of bacteria in various locations inside your mouth. Bad breath is also known as ‘halitosis’. Daily brushing and flossing might remove only a part of the bacteria from your mouth. Millions of bacteria live in the mouth, particularly on the rear part of the tongue. For many people, this is a main reason for bad breath. The mouth’s warm, moist conditions are ideal for the growth of bacteria.
People from all walks of life have been searching for the cure for halitosis. In Brazil, cinnamon is chewed, in Italy there is parsley, in Thailand, guava peel while in Iraq, cloves are used and in Eastern Asia its aniseed. But these have not been helped bring out a permanent cure.
There are temporary as well as long lasting bad breath. Some types of bad breath are considered to be normal like “morning mouth.” They usually are not health concerns. During the day, saliva washes away decaying food and odors. At night your mouth becomes dry, and dead cells stick to your tongue and walls in the mouth. When bacteria uses these cells for food, they produce an unpleasant odor.
Some of the common reasons for bad breath could also be:
- Poor dental hygiene – If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles remain in your mouth and cause bad breath.
- Infections in the mouth – Bacteria (plaque) forms on your teeth if not brushed away, plaque can irritate your gums (gingivitis) and eventually form plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums (periodontitis).
- Respiratory tract infections – Bad breath caused by chronic sinusitis may keep occurring, especially if it is caused by a structural abnormality of the sinuses or any related health issues
- Food – The breakdown of food particles in and around your teeth can increase bacteria and cause a foul odor. Eating certain foods, such as onions, garlic, and other vegetables and spices, also can cause bad breath. After digesting these foods, they enter your bloodstream, get carried to your lungs and affect your breath.
- Tobacco Use- Smoking causes its own nasty odor. Smokers and oral tobacco users are also more likely to have bad breath.
- Medications – Some medications can indirectly produce bad breath by contributing to dry mouth. Others break down in the body to release chemicals and carried on your breath releasing an unpleasant odor.
- Illnesses – Diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease, reflux disease and others.
How to evaluate your breath odor?
It is always very difficult to identify your own bad breath because the cells in the nose gets used to the smell with time. Other people may notice it, but may feel uncomfortable telling you.
An easy way to evaluate your breath is to lick the inside of your wrist with the back of your tongue and wait for a few seconds until the saliva dries. If your wrist smells unpleasant, it’s likely your breath does as well.
How to get rid of bad breath?
A dentist or physician may be able to identify the actual reason and suggest remedies. He will examine your teeth, gums, mouth and salivary glands. In most cases the smell of the breath may indicate the cause. For example, fruity breath may be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes. A urine-like smell can sometimes indicate kidney malfunction.
Normal bad breath can be treated with proper dental hygiene. While bad breath that results from an illness may be a long-term problem. It can often be controlled with proper medical treatments.
Here are some things you can do to temporarily mask bad breath:
- Brushing the teeth and tongue, and flossing
- Mouthwash may temporarily mask bad breath
- Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugar-free mints
- Special toothpaste and mouthwash that can improve the symptoms of bad breath.
When to see a doctor?
At the doctor’s office, your dentist will likely smell both the breath from your mouth as well as breath from your nose and rate the odor. Because the back of the tongue is most often the source of the smell, your dentist may also scrape it and rate its odor. There are sophisticated detectors that can identify the chemicals responsible for bad breath, but these are not available commonly.
Regular bad breath can be managed through regular brushing, flossing and if required deep cleaning at the dentist. This eliminates bad odor from the mouth if the reason is lack of dental hygiene. If the problem of bad breath still exists, then you need to see a physician to determine the root cause which could indicate a building health issue.